Cannes Lions: A view from the show floor

It’s Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity again and the annual rollercoaster / merry go round of the world’s best work. And while security is beefed up and armed guards patrol the Croisette, a lot of the talks I’ve seen have shown the industry actively embracing and encouraging a spirit of openness.


From MIT identifying the neural networks and pathways that open up and connect when a new idea sparks to life, or NASA and the collaborative approach they used to design the most advanced space nappy, or the NY Times discussing fake news and how it spreads – and can then be rebutted – by the openness of engaged communities, it’s a recurring theme which will undoubtedly be reflected in the awards over the next few nights.


Mario Testino talked today about the one thing he judges the quality of his work on – sales – which is a refreshing thing to hear when looking through the winners from last night’s awards.

As ever, many awards went to campaigns for NGOs, charities and causes, but it’s good to see more campaigns where selling products is as celebrated as selling purpose. The major winner – Fearless Girl – is a lovely example of a great, hugely talkable piece of art which manages to do both. We’re not the only ones who think so – check out a few words from the Wall Street Journal on the campaign: HERE.


A refreshing day spent watching lots of the winners’ case studies with some interesting themes beginning to emerge.

The use of real world to trigger social engagement and virtual fame has been a repeating trope – fearless girl, meet Graham and DNA Adventures all creating significant social conversation through a physical property.

By contrast, we’ve seen many campaigns which leverage the power of social and a tweaked platform to drive engagement across the earned space – check Kiss the Kremlin and the inspired Google Sheep View for the Faroe Islands.